My grandfather was a farmer, a hardworking man, the happy one kind. I'll always remember summer mornings when I visited his place, we woke up very early to collect some milk and to feed the cows. My grandfather had the farm 45 minutes away from my grandmother's house, so at the time we returned from milking (with a big jar of milk), my grandma already cooked a delicious breakfast, served on the table. I always ran straight to the table and ate some cheese, without caring about my dirty and sweaty hands. The wait of seeing my grandpa enclosing the horse, give him water and take away the saddle was eternity for me, and of course to my hunger.


My grandfather's favourite hat was a beige one a little battered by time but it was the one that every child in the house wanted to use at riding mornings, the first one to wake up had the right to use. The hat had a feather of some strange bird, and leather string around it. My grandfather always told us that this hat was a very special one, 'cause he conserved it since his younger years and it was a gift from an uncle. He liked to put it on when he and my grandma took walks to the beach; when he drove my mom and her siblings to school; when he visited my great-grandparentsand. But now it was the hat that stayed with him every morning crossing the field. The hat was so old that the lyrics of the brand inside were almost impossible to read; it was a little too big for my head but I loved wearing it.


Morning walks to the barnyard, long ones for a boy of my age, but enjoyables by the hat covering the sun and my grandpa's talks, this last one made the walks so much easier and of course, made them feel quicker. When we arrived home he took the hat off and hung it next to all the other hats; some of them large, others colorful, some velvet ones... but that beige, old, the most damaged and full of memories made it the favourite hat. Nowdays visiting my grandma's place and seeing the hat, I close my eyes and start to remember every story and all the amazing talks with my grandfhater as we walked. All those moments between my grandfather, me, and the hat.

grandfather, me, and the hat.
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"Hillbilly Smile (Remix)"

Hillbilly Smiles

by Jeph Johnson


Kenneth Campanella
had one-a-them hillbilly smiles
He'd have no problems askin' gals
to dance with style
So with his city boy traits
and a countryside glance
He went up to her table in the back
and asked her to dance
She asked him his name
and he replied with a grin:
"Kenneth Campanella,
but you can call me Ken"
She said her name was Barbara,
"I's born Barbara Ann Cook"
"I never go by Barbie,
so don't give me that silly look!"
He soon had her feet a-spinnin',
dancing away her fears
Smiling like the corner of her lips
were pinned over her ears
They waltzed across Texas
and did the one from Tennessee
They two-stepped so happily
they were wishing they had three
After their dance marathon
they sat down to wet their thirst
"I'll have a big tall microbrew,
no, wait, you order first..."
Barbara batted her eyes at Ken,
and said, "I'll share his brew"
The bar became a malt shop;
them holdin' hands and pitchin' woo
"I'll give you my number Ken,
if you promise me you'll wait
until I've called my friends
and told them all about our date"
"That's fine, Barbara,
I've made a habit of waitin' three days-
Any sooner and ya'd get an impression
of desperation portrayed"
"Oh Ken, you're just so perfect,
I will wait there by the phone,
Oh, by the way, I was meanin' to ask,
did you come here alone?"
"No, my buddies John and Hector
are over there playin' pool
Hector hustles him every time,
when he drinks John is a fool"
"My friends Camille and Terry
were playin' the lottery,
Let's go see if we can find 'em,
Terry's tall and wearin' green
and Camille's got a bandana on
of some guy named Sawyer Brown,
Terry's not quite drunk by now,
might take her another round."
They laughed and joked and partied hard
and danced a little more
and soon all six of the whole gang
were headin' out the door.
Hector took a passin' fancy
to Terry's big green eyes and
John saw somethin' in the way
Camille snuggled up beside him.
So at two o'clock or there abouts
they all went back to Ken's
Jumpin' in his indoor swimming pool
wearin' just their skin.
It became a party faster than
you can say "Jay-Dee"
The deepest end of the pool
was deeper than even Hector's reach
Pourin' more Jack Daniels,
and then mixin' it with Coke
Barbara fell in the deepest part,
hit her head and didn't float.
Ken was turned, his head was spinnin'
like a roulette wheel
John was watchin' Terry
watchin' Hector watchin' Camille.
They all passed out and in the morning
awoke only to find
Barbara now was floating,
a bit late, but floating fine.
Ken called the police, the fire trucks
and an ambulance rescue
But Barbara lay there pale-naked,
bloated, in full view.
So the moral of the story, friends,
is no matter how wonderful
Something appears to be,
it really could be a bunch-a-bull!
Everyone at the local bar
thought Barbara and Ken were "it"
Instead we find Ken jailed away
for criminal negligence.
"I bought the drinks that night,
but we drank too much though,
My pool even had a life preserver,
but we just didn't know...
My Barbara drowned that night
and I will never drink again...
Now I sit incarcerated,
locked away in this here prison."
So we take our story back
to that same bar another weekend night
The party's goin' fine,
drinkin' and dancin' in the lights...
And at that same ol' table
there's a couple smiling in the back,
Perhaps not Ken and Barbie,
but then really who's keepin' track?

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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